By Alison Hoover
We’re spending more time in our homes than ever before. We’ve moved from large offices to work from home corners. We’ve opted for smaller gatherings and take-out instead of big events and dining-in. And while San Diego boasts some of the country’s best weather, it does cool off come winter, driving all of us further indoors.
Whether you spend all your time inside or just part of your day, the air you breathe should be as clean as possible. Indoor air pollution can cause eye irritation, headaches, fatigue, and a dry throat. And it can be especially rough on Fido and Mr. Whiskers. The good news is there are simple ways to improve the air quality in your home.
Keep it Green
Plants are natural air purifiers. Through photosynthesis, plants process carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. But some plants can cause more harm than good – especially in a small space. Indoor plants can fill the room with pollen and other irritants while also attracting a lot of dust. Think carefully about which plants you keep inside and which are better suited to the outdoors.
One of the best ways to reduce air pollution around the home is to have a well-maintained lawn. Grass areas act as natural air filters to trap and remove dust and other particles from the air. You’ll be more tempted to open the windows when you have a well-maintained yard. A yard with native plants has the added benefit of supporting your local ecology as well as improving the air quality in and around your home.
Keep it Clean
Basic cleaning is essential for improving and maintaining air quality. Vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and dusting with microfiber cloths are the best and simplest ways to trap irritants. You should be vacuuming and dusting at least once a week.
It’s also important to clean fabric surfaces frequently, including draperies and upholstery. Make sure you change and wash your bedding each week. And don’t forget to clean the comforters! Prioritizing this sort of cleaning will have a marked difference in air quality.
Perhaps the most important step in keeping your home clean is preventing the irritants in the first place. Source control, or the practice of stopping the pollutants at their source, is the best way to improve any space’s air quality.
Keep it Filtered
Changing air filters is something a lot of people (myself included!) forget to do regularly. Depending on your home’s systems and the number of occupants, you may need to change filters every month. Filters are designed to trap irritants and dust, preventing them from circulating through your house.
Buying filters in bulk will help you save money and remember to change them regularly. Keep an extra filter near your vacuum or in your linen closet – spotting it will help you remember. You can also set an alarm on your phone or link changing the filters with another routine activity.
Keep it Simple
If you’re especially concerned about your home’s air quality or you have specific allergies, buying an air-purifying machine might be the best option. There are several things to consider when choosing a purifier.
HEPA filters are best for cleaning the air, while carbon filters are suited for eliminating odors. You should also consider the cost of replacement filters. Look for Energy Star certification. These units are much more energy-efficient, allowing you to clean the air in your home while minimizing your own carbon footprint.
While there are occasional days where air quality is poor, and we’re advised to stay indoors, San Diego is a great place to enjoy the fresh air. Take a deep breath and relax, knowing you’re filling your body, heart, and lungs with clean air.
Alison Hoover is an avid reader with a passion for books and learning. She describes herself as a clean-freak and germophobe. She writes for several national publications, offering tips on keeping offices and homes germ-free.